Lapse of Memory, A


 Lapse of Memory, A (Works)

colour, 5:1 surround, 24 min. loop
HD projector, media player, surround amplifier, surround speakers

In A Lapse of Memory Tan’s interest in the role of memory and forgetting in the construction of cultural heritage comes to the forefront. Shot at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, Tan offers the imagined portrait of an elderly man lost in memories that are incomplete and fragmentary. The character explores the empty nineteenth century architectural folly, an extraordinary manifestation of the Western fascination with the East. The man, to whom the narrator refers to as both Henry and Eng Lee, exemplifies the muddled identity of the building itself – a bizarre amalgamation of Orient and Occident. The film traces the daily activities of Henry/Eng Lee as he wanders from room to room – practicing tai chi, eating sardines – assembling his sense of self from incoherent recollections and lingering habits. A voice-over narration offers viewers possible explanations for Henry’s actions, yet with no conclusive ending. Exquisitely filmed and shaped in a deceptively simple montage the artist gently tugs at the predominant paradigm of East and West.